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Watch the Academy Awards on a big ass screen

The Grand Cinema celebrates Hollywood in style

THEATRE ON THE SQUARE: It will be festive Sunday. Photo credit: The Grand Cinema

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The Oscars are glitzy, oh so ritzy. An evening filled with glamour and distraction from real life. The night is a way to revel in all things hoity toity whilst hobnobbing with the elite. Not just the Hollywood elite either, but also Tacoma's finest. There's even a good cause involved.

Oh look - something shiny! Is that an Oscar?

The Grand Cinema's annual Academy Awards Party is THE way to celebrate the accomplishments of people way richer than you'll ever be, and this year the party is bigger and better than ever. While watching the Oscars on your HDTV with a bag of microwave popcorn might sound appealing, The Grand has you and your popcorn beat. The Oscars will be screened in two separate areas - one at Theatre on the Square and one in a private VIP area (that's sold out) at Studio 2. Both will have massive theater-sized screens.

To give your popcorn a run for its money, The Grand is pooling the resources of varied delicious local establishments. VIP guests will dine upon a buffet dinner from Maxwell's and receive two complimentary drink tickets.

"The general admission tickets get you a snack pack, complimentary water and dessert snacks throughout the night," says Zach Powers, The Grand Cinema's marketing director. "Everyone may help themselves to Farrelli's pizza around 6:30 p.m. - if they need some more energy to get them through the night."

And about that good cause? It's The Grand itself. This year's Oscars party is also a fundraiser to replace the theater's old film projectors with digital projectors, which the theater must upgrade within the next year, or fade to black. VIP tickets - already sold out - are designed to offer attendees a more upscale evening, as well as raise funds to digitize The Grand.

Aside from general cinema revelry, the party also includes other festivities, including a silent auction and a raffle in the lobby. Prizes include an autographed Felix Hernandez framed picture, Mariners tickets, local travel packages, dinner deals, museum passes and more. Raffle tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10.

There's the annual Oscars winners' contest, too.

"Before the actual Oscar broadcast we ask for all attendees to fill out a ballot that has 24 award categories - these are the ones all announced during the broadcast," says Rachel Marecle, director of community development at the theater. "They must turn them in before the broadcast begins. We then keep track throughout the entire night of all the ballots and the ONE that picks the most correct Award Winning Categories wins a golden ticket - free movies for a year at the Grand Cinema for one person."

While you wager on which films are set to win, staff are also pulling for their favorites.

"In general we'll be rooting for films that screened at The Grand against the field, which gives us a lot of horses in the race as over 60 percent of the nominated films screened here," says Powers. "For Picture of the Year, for instance, five out of the nine films nominated screened here so we'd love to see any of those - Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild or Silver Linings Playbook."

Attendees are also invited to wear film-related costumes, too. Each year, Marecle and Powers say, there are often several from popular films, so don't be afraid to get creative and pull from years past or current movies. Restaurant gift cards will be awarded to the best costume picked by the audience.

"I'm always curious to see what folks dream up for the costume party," says Powers. "Conventional wisdom around the office is that we'll have multiple Lincolns, but this year saw films depict a wide variety of places and historical periods so I hope we see a great variety of costumes."

THEATRE ON THE SQUARE, SUNDAY, FEB. 24, 5 P.M., DOORS AT 4 P.M., $30-$35, 915 BROADWAY, TACOMA, 253.572.6062

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